On the bridge of the Tiger of Maribu, Duke Far stood next to the stellar navigation station when an alert sounded.
"Your Grace," a crewman said, "the scout's in position at the suspect location."
"Main screen." Far said, and the video feed from the scout appeared on the big screen. In real time, the scout showed the asteroid pirate base, and its activity resembled that of a panicked wasp hive. Not one of the vessels leaving the base was a warship. Instead, Far witnessed a bunch of pirates in unarmed mechs towing away the stolen container units, apparently leading to a point on the edge of the solar system- right where it opens to deep space.
"Scout, have any warships or mecha come or gone?" Far said, following a hunch.
"None, Your Grace." the scout said, "This is all that's been going on since the base lit up a few moments ago. Just prior to that a burst signal terminated here. Your Grace, this isn't a muster for battle; these pirates are abandoning their base of operations."
Far looked over at his Communications Officer, who nodded affirmatively in anticipation of the question. "Scout, send the trajectory of the burst signal back here. Stay on station, observe, and if detected flee."
"Yes, Your Grace." the scout said, and moments later the requested data appeared. The Communications Officer superimposed the data on a map of the system, revealing a point on the edge of Garmil's Gate's atmosphere.
"General Quarters!" Far said, and the battle lighting came on as the alert klaxons sounded. "Helm, intercept that ascending ship."
The Tiger of Maribu's engines flared to life once more, turning the battleship about and heading away from Gatewatch on an intercept course. As the battleship raced to intercept Redalen's Revenge, the mech squadron aboard ship scrambled and stood ready to launch upon contact.
"Missiles at the ready." Far said, anticipating what's to come, and soon the map updated with positive sensor contact.
A salvo of missiles fired their engines and flew from their tubes, clearing the battleship before turning and flying towards their target. Immmediately thereafter the mech squadron launched, taking up their formation ahead of the Maribu. The ship's main guns now powered up, anticipating closure to combat ranges presently.
"Enemy missiles inbound!" a crewman said, "Enemy secondary signals confirmed. Tiger Leader has visual confirmation of enemy mecha and their mothership."
Redalen's Revenge appeared on the main screen, starboard side in profile, racing as fast as it can go for the edge of the system.
"Missiles intercepted and destroyed."
"All ahead full! Time for the Tiger to pounce!"
The mech squadrons broke formation and engaged, turning quickly into a series of dogfights, as the Tiger closed on the Revenge
"We've reached gunnery range, Your Grace!"
The Tiger's forward turrets opened fire, alternating fire to maintain a steady assault of three-barrel barrages. The first volley scored a glancing blow and coruscated brilliantly off Revenge's shields, but the second hit square on the pirate ship's starboard side. The hit overloaded the shields, bored a hole in the armor and into the hull. Some hapless pirates not incinerated by the shot itself got sucked out into space during decompression before the bulkheads slammed down and sealed off the breach.
Revenge returned fire, tracking the Maribu and firing a barrage from its own turrets. One missed entirely, but two more hit and stressed the shielding on the ship's fore to its limit. A fourth went just high and skated off the shielding over the dorsal hull.
"Now if Roland can just join the battle." Far said, "We can finish Dashing Jack for good."